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Lectionary 307: Hinneni: “Here I am, Lord”

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Lectionary 307. Scripture for Wed. Ordinary Time.  I Samuel 3:1-10.19-20. Psalm 40:2-5,7-8, 8-9,10.  Mark 1:29-39:

One of the friendliest and charming members of the Dayton Christian Jewish Dialogue was Dr. Lewis Ryterband.  I identified him with a familiar biblical expression that he used when raising his hand to say he was present or when he volunteered to do something for the Dialogue Group.   He has left an ongoing Symposium  in Dayon, Ohio,  that promotes dialogue within the three academic communities that were involved with members in the DCJD.  His generous grant keeps the Symposium alive every October. His famous expression was “Hineni”. In Hebrew this means I am present or here I am.   Lewis came to mind as I read the story of Samuel’s prophetic call in the Temple or Shrine at Shiloh.  His response to Eli and then to the Lord was “Hinneni” or “Here I am, Lord.”

This word has deep meaning in a vocation call to be a servant or prophet of the Lord.  There is a clarion tone about it that catches one attention and shows a person who is willing to do something.  Samuel will live up to his own “Hinneni.”

Our Psalm Response is a perfect “Hinneni”: “Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will.” (Psalm 40:8-9).  It is a motivational psalm that spurs us on to praise God and at the same time to be willing to do something for the Lord.  It makes one open to do what the Lord wants of us.

To help my meditation on today’s excerpt from the Gospel, I first reread the very important chapter one of Mark’s Gospel. It is an extraordinary foundation piece for the study of Jesus as well as for a fundamental commitment to the Jesus of the next three Gospels.   Like most first chapters it has a preview and a summary of what the work of Jesus will be in his fulfilling the work of his Father.  Jesus has no father other than God in this Gospel. Joseph is never mentioned.   And Mark starts with the doing of Jesus not the human thought processes about him that were germinating in others.

Jesus performs his second healing in today’s Gospel passage.  He helps Peter’s mother-in-law to get out of her bed and she is immediately cured of her fever.  She then ministers to him and Peter, Andrew, James, and John.  This is a family healing, the first to be recorded in the New Testament.

At the end of our reading, Mark gives us a look into a day with Jesus and what he did from sunrise to sunset (Mark 1:32-39).  I enjoyed the literary style of Mark for it is swift, vibrant, and dynamic.  This interests readers who are young, middle-aged, or elderly. I am sorry I did not appreciate this sooner since I belong to the senior citizens.  Amen.

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